Turning the Wheel of the Dharma

A Sunday Meditation Teaching on Meditation by Venerable Thupten Rinpoche

Translated orally by Losang Dawa.
© Copyright Dhargyey Buddhist Centre.

If we clearly identify during our meditation, the positive influences of positive attitudes, and the negative influences of negative attitudes then, of course, we will want to influence our minds with the positive power of the principal mind. Most people think that the mind is either black or white and are unable to come to the understanding that our primary mind can be neutral, maintaining an independent status. The primary mind by nature is said to be absolutely pure and untainted; negativities are not part of the intrinsic nature of the primary mind. Primary mind, by nature, is untainted and if it were not so then we could not posit what is known as The Buddha Potential or The Buddha Nature. However because our primary mind is untainted we can posit The Potential that the mind has to become positive.

In order to move forward the mind needs to be influenced by virtuous mental states or mental factors.

Throughout beginningless time though, that primary mind has been influenced by negative attitudes so it has tended to become negative; not within itself but from outside influence. The fundamental nature of our primary minds is unbiased and independent, however the mind does get influenced by negative attitudes, or negative 'mental factors'. For instance, if the primary mind were negative by nature then our minds must be full of desire, lust, anger and jealousy. At the moment however, all of us who are here have minds which are really detached from them. If the influences of lust, desire, anger and jealousy were part of the primary mind then even while listening to Dharma teachings our minds wouldn't be detached from them. We are not so that clearly shows that the mind has the capacity to remain neutral at some times.

Meditation is a way of combating negative attitudes and negative mental factors. We know the primary mind is neutral, but it can be influenced either way. If negatively influenced we do things which we suffer from as a consequence, therefore we want the mind to be positive. The practice of meditation is to see that the primary mind is positively charged by positive mental factors.

I have just said that the primary mind is neutral, or independent. It is quite possible for you to think if the mind remains neutral then it can not be influenced by either side. Indeed this is just like the role of a president or a prime minister; no matter how influenced they may be their role is to stay impartial. However such a person is not going to do nothing. The prime minister or president has to do something, simply remaining on neutral ground one is not going to bring about the public good. In doing something, he or she must be affected by positive and negative influences but the public good can only be achieved by implementing positive policies. Similarly although the mind can be neutral, by simply being able to maintain the neutral state of mind one gets nowhere even though freed from negative states. In order to move forward the mind needs to be influenced by virtuous mental states or mental factors.

Buddha potential.. is quite priceless.. If we can tap its rich energy.. we can move forward towards the state of Buddha.

Our minds are like all silver found underneath the ground. When any precious metal, like silver, is found in the ground only the experts can correctly identify the dirty looking substances. Ordinary people will say that it can't be silver because silver is shiny and beautiful. Indeed when silver remains under ground for many centuries, it can receive some extra dirty coating however if that silver is taken out and put through a process of purification and cleansing, its natural lustre shines through. Similarly, our minds at the moment have a lot of external coatings from the negative influences of desire, hate, jealousy and so on. If we are to see the natural purity shine from the mind, we need to remove the external layers. Just as a geologist or those who deal with metals know that if the metal, by nature, is silver, then no matter how dirty and polluted it may be from the outside this piece of metal can be refined to reveal its innate quality. So we need to see that our minds can be brought to their innate purity and set about removing the external layers and contaminations.

The innate purity of our mind is called the Buddha Nature or Buddha Potential. It is quite priceless. If we can tap its rich energy and its inner resources then we can move forward towards the state of Buddha. If we don't tap this rich, quality resource of positive energy, with which we are endowed with we fail to move forward. Our responsibility and our task is to shed the negative influences and to channel the mind into the domain of positive mental factors. As it is familiarised with positive mental factors then the mind will become better and better; increasingly positive. In order to guard the mind against the negative influences we engage in the practice of ethics by avoiding negativities of body, speech and mind. One needn't be a Buddhist to accept the goodness. Everyone with an innate desire to be happy, must practice this process of channelling the mind in a positive direction.

This morning I have briefly talked about the innate potential that all living beings throughout space have. The inner potential that in time they will recognize and in time be able to tap and move forward with. There are various ways of identifying that inner nature but today I will not go into them.

The topic of meditation for this morning, is your own mind. See that your innate, primary mind remains in the middle and then see what kind of influence this has while you meditate on it. Observe how it reacts when it is influenced by envy, desire, passion, lust, jealousy and so on. We all of us have a rich experience of envy etcetera. Secondly how does the mind feel when it is influenced from the other side by positive attitudes of compassion, kindness, altruism selflessness and so on? How does the mind feel and how do you feel, as a possessor of that mind influenced by a positive attitude.

So then, observe the mind.

Venerable Thubten Rinpoche

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